Moving a 24×7 service desk to a remote location
Would it be possible to organize and manage a large team of service desk technicians and supervisors from their own homes?
Set up – Normally, our service desk works from shared workstations with standard configurations. Several laptops are available for off-site use as part of our business continuity plan. The challenge, however, was finding enough high-performance laptops for each technician to work remotely for several weeks. Within a few days, we were able to put together a lot of new machines using spare hardware and buy the rest. We also had to add licenses for our software-based phone system to be able to handle calls from multiple locations simultaneously.
Test & Move – We ran an initial 12-hour remote shift as a trial. Additionally, we tested the normal operation of our phone system as well as emergency failover. The majority of things worked, and some did not. As a result, we were able to make the switch officially.
From here, the road ahead
We think we’ve hit our stride, operating in a more or less sustainable manner in our new normal. As well as productivity and performance, we also keep an eye on our employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. Our company is following Indiana University’s lead in accommodating our employees’ needs beyond work: to support their children’s e-learning, maintain relationships with family and friends during times of isolation, and take care of the logistics of day-to-day life while at home.
It will, of course, change again at some point. The goal is to take the things we’ve learned so far and use them to help us move forward as conditions ease. Hopefully, this will help us prepare for future crises and maintain the good lessons we’ve learned even in normal times. In the wake of the COVID-19 challenge, we are committed to becoming an even stronger ExtNOC.
With respect and appreciation for all in the communities we serve, we wish our partners wellness in all forms.
When a storm hits, ensure your employee’s mental health
Each individual faces their battles during a normal year, including some that no one else may even be aware of. The COVID-19 incident added to these challenges. The elderly may also feel isolated if they live on their own. Others worry they will get ill and pass it on to loved ones. COVID-19 is causing others to lose friends and family while others downplay and underestimate the virus. Many parents work from home and homeschool their kids while feeling guilty about sending them to school in person.
CDC reports that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with mental health challenges including the impact of physical distance and stay-at-home orders.
Here are a few suggestions to get you and your employees (NOC technicians) prepared for working effectively during this remote working era. Take a look.
- The first step. Give yourself a break
The easiest way to unplug is, of course, to take a day off. Often, weekends are not enough to completely unwind. With household chores and errands to run, a two-day weekend can be just as busy as the rest of the week. However, many people may feel too busy to request time off or may not feel that they need to request time off if they’re not going anywhere. Promote mental health days for your employees. There is the possibility that they can spend time outdoors or even sleep in an extra day and truly feel rested and ready for the upcoming work week.
We at Externetworks, conduct fun and interaction activities for employees on weekends. Special events will be conducted on the day before the festival, as the festival day is a holiday from work.
- Secondly, work-life balance should be prioritized
The lines between our work and personal lives are blurring more and more, with employees working longer hours while working from home. Approximately 8.3% more emails are sent after office hours, according to a Harvard Business Study. Families with children who work from home also face increased demands. When more flexibility is needed, let’s do everything we can to make the necessary accommodations.
At Externetworks, we encourage our employees to use CRM business tools for scheduling and meeting the work calendar. It helps them to get better productivity on working days.
- The third is. Create a wellness group or program within the company
Exercise and mental health have long been linked. Journal of Psychiatry and Mental Health Nursing states that exercise reduces anxiety, depression, and negative mood, as well as improves self-esteem and cognitive function. However, it is often a neglected intervention in the mental health careof technicians. Sometimes we need accountability just as much as a group fitness class or a personal trainer. As well as providing accountability, company wellness programs help build relationships.
- Fourth, Chat with people who are not related to work
The idea of virtual happy hours was quickly embraced by many organizations (including ours) to compensate for the lack of personal interaction. According to Raffaella Sadun, professor of business administration in the HBS Strategy Unit, “there is a general sense that we are never away from Zoom or interacting.”. Does that sound tire?
During your team meetings, you may want to start with an icebreaker question or a show-and-tell segment. Focus on non-work-related discussions between smaller groups of teams to maintain strong relationships that lead to team success.
We at ExtNoc, do not block any social networking sites. Employees have access to Instagram and other social media websites. They are free to access the outside world.
- Five. Establish a book club for the company
Study findings from the University of Sussex found that reading reduces stress by more than two-thirds in as little as six minutes. If employees start a book club, they can reduce stress while building relationships with their colleagues. Bonus points if the selected book is related to professional development or business best practices that can then be implemented to improve your business.
- Sixth. Set aside time to focus
Many of us are continuing to work from home, so our calendars are filled with back-to-back meetings. Our goal should be to recognize this trend and do our best to minimize it while incorporating time for thinking and accomplishing tasks in the day. You can use an Outlook add-in called Insights to “gain focus time, maintain work relationships, plan time away from work, and improve your overall work-life balance.”
Organizations can take help from Managed Desktop Support services for facilitating better remote working opportunities for their employees.